In dogs, as in humans, the aging process leads to an alteration of the gut microbiota and a decrease in the efficacy of the immune system. Profeed Advanced has been designed to support a balanced microbiota while sustaining the immune system through aging, said the partners.
The feed combines Tereos’ short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) with selected yeast fractions to tackle the gut microbiota and immune changes in elderly dogs.
Obtained from sugar beet sucrose, Tereos’ scFOS or Profeed is designed to encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, while the yeast fractions act as postbiotics. “This results in a synergistic effect for a unique complementary feed – for which a patent is still pending.”
Manufactured at Tereos’ facility in Chevrieres, France, the collaborators said the feed comes in the form of a neutral-tasting powder that can be added to any wet or dry petfood by manufacturers. In terms of whether the product performs differently when applied in wet and dry pet food applications, a spokesperson told us that product form has no impact as long as the incorporation rate is respected.
The product is being launched in European pet food markets.
Asked for further data to show how Profeed Advanced stimulates and enhances the immune systems of senior and immuno-compromised dogs, the representative said a study by Wambacq et al, 2022, showed this new pre-and postbiotic mix can shape the gut microbiota composition and community structure of elderly dogs and that it can modulate total serum IgA and the CD4/CD8 T-cell ratio, known to increase and decrease with age respectively.
That study is being finalized for submission in a scientific journal; the findings of the paper were presented during the 26th European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition (ESVCN) Congress, in Basel, Switzerland, in September 2022, continued the spokesperson.
In recent years, the role of gut microbiota in modulating immunity has become an important research topic. Differences in gut microbiome composition have been observed in young versus senior rodents, humans, and dogs, although the precise mechanisms underlying the association of aging and gut microbiome are still unclear, highlighted the researchers involved in that work.
“Diet is a key modulator that affects the gut microbiome, while there is a close relationship between immunity and nutrition, opening the field of using nutritional solutions to support elderly populations,” they said.
The goal of their study was to ‘describe’ the effect of the prebiotic and postbiotic mixture on the fecal microbiota and certain immune parameters of old healthy dogs subjected to a vaccination. “The hypothesis was that the combo can modulate immunosenescence biomarkers, improve specific immune response following a vaccination and change the microbiota,” said the team.
For that research, they divided 22 healthy senior, aged 8.7 years on average, client-owned dogs into two groups: one group received a basal diet (control), and the other group was fed the same diet containing 1.1% Profeed Advanced for 14 weeks.
Dogs were subjected to a vaccination against Borrelia burgdorferi at day 28 and received a booster at day 49. Complete blood count (CBC), serum acute phase proteins, immunoglobulins, cytokines, T-cell subsets, and antibody secreting cells (ELISPOT) were analyzed at various time points throughout the study. Fecal score and pH were monitored while microbiota composition was defined using amplicon sequencing.
The team saw that dogs fed with Profeed Advanced had decreased total serum IgA concentrations and increased CD4+/CD8+ T-cell ratio during and after a vaccination protocol for Lyme disease.
They also observed that bacteria including Megamonas, Fusobacterium, Phascolarctobacterium, B. plebeius and Succinivibrionaceae were significantly more abundant and Enterobacteriaceae less abundant in the Profeed Advanced group.
“Interestingly, the microbiota as shaped with the Profeed Advanced supplementation was correlated to reduced concentrations of total serum IgG and IgA. Total serum IgA and IgG concentrations increase with age and chronic inflammatory disorders in humans but also with age in dogs.
“The correlations observed between the bacteria and the immune parameters suggest that the change in microbiota was instrumental to impact immune parameters, although it is still required to differentiate correlation from causation,” noted the research team.
Tereos also undertook a complementary study on elderly mice to further explain the mechanism of action of the pre-and postbiotic mix, and preliminary results were presented this year at the ESVCN congress 2023 at Vila Real Portugal, said the representative.